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Saanen, 2nd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 25th Question Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1980 'Recording'

Question: Is it possible to be so completely awake at the moment of perception that the mind does not recall the event?

In the question is the answer; we are going to enquire into it. Is it possible not to record at all, one's failures, despairs, anxieties, all the things that are going on inside and outside, so that the mind is always free?

It is the function of the brain to record. Someone says to me: "You are an idiot", and the brain instantly records it. I do not like it because I have an image about myself that I am not an idiot and you call me an idiot and I am hurt. That is recording. The hurt exists as long as I have an image about myself - everybody will tread on that image. And there is hurt, the brain has recorded it. The recording is to build a wall round myself so as not to be hurt any more. I am afraid, so I shrink within myself, build a wall of resistance and I feel safe.

Now the questioner asks: Is it possible not to record that hurt at the moment when I am called an idiot? Is it possible not to record at all, not only the hurt but flattery? Is it possible not to record either? The brain has been trained to record for in that recording there is safety, security, a sense of vitality; in that recording the mind creates the image about oneself. And that image will constantly get hurt. Is it possible to live without a single image about yourself, or about your husband, wife, children, firm, or about the politicians, the priests, or about the ideal - not a single shadow of an image? It is possible, and if it is not found you will always be getting hurt, always living in a pattern in which there is no freedom. When you give complete attention there is no recording. It is only when there is inattention that you record. That is: you flatter me; I like it; the liking at that moment is inattention therefore recording takes place. But if when you flatter me I listen to it completely without any reaction, then there is no centre which records.

You have to go into the question of what attention is. Most of us know what concentration is; from one point to another point - from one desire, one hope, to another. You concentrate on your job. You concentrate in order to control the mind, in order to achieve a certain result. In that concentration there must be conflict because as you are concentrating, thoughts come pouring in and you try to push them off. This constant struggle with intruding thought is concentration; whereas in attention there is no struggle and no point from which you are attending.

Have you ever given attention to anything? - which means there is no thought, no movement, no interpretation or motive, just attending completely. Concentration is from point to point and therefore there is resistance; attention has no centre from which you are attending; attention is all-inclusive, there is no border to it. Concentration inevitably brings about resistance, you shut yourself up, avoid noises, avoid interruptions; your whole brain is centred on a point, a point which may be excellent or not. In concentration there is the division between the controller and the controlled. The controller is the thought which says, "I must control that", therefore the controller is the controlled. Put it differently: the thinker is the thought, for there is no separation between thought and the thinker. You eliminate altogether the division when you realize that the thinker is the thought, that the controller is the controlled. When you actually see the truth of this there comes attention; in attention there may be concentration in which you concentrate on doing something, but it comes from attention.

Questions and Answers

Saanen, 2nd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 25th Question Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 24th July 1980 'Recording'

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ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

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free summary online